Cat is a beauty enthusiast, honoring the essence of natural beauty and supporting informed choices to enhance what mother nature gave us.
Sun Worship = Sun Damage!
There is hope for sun-damaged skin!
After many years of neglecting my skin and indulging in absolutely everything skin care professionals tell us will ruin our skin (excessive sun, too much alcohol, smoking, and so on), I began to notice the signs of my neglect creeping across my face.
I am fortunate to have inherited fairly decent skin genes, but even the best genes are no match for constant neglect. When I turned 40, the struggle to maintain nice-looking skin got real. The many years of eating disorders, smoking, drinking, and days spent in devotion to the Gods of Sun were coming back to haunt me, flaunting my sinful indiscretions, quite literally, right in front of my face. My goal was to improve the appearance of my skin and reverse sun damage.
My Damaged Skin
Although my skin has always been fairly smooth, my complexion was taking on a red, blotchy tone, enhanced by broken capillaries and under-eye discoloration—concealed only with makeup. I find it true that, as we age, makeup needs to be less obvious, and I simply wanted to wear less of it. Honestly, as much as I enjoy the magic of makeup, I would rather not rely on it to make my skin look good. So, I explored treatment options to help repair my skin damage and bring me closer to having the healthy-looking, radiant skin I desire.
For a little additional insight, I have battled eating disorders most of my life, which, in addition to smoking, drinking, and lack of proper skin care well into my 30s, contributed to my skin's diminishing radiance. I was also very self-conscious and wore far more makeup than necessary to feel confident. My skin couldn't breathe!
Second Chances With BBL
I wanted a second chance to love my skin, to unveil the natural beauty it had before I put it through hell. So, I booked an appointment for a consultation.
My doctor recommended I begin with Broadband Light Therapy (BBL) to address sun damage and redness and improve texture before moving forward with other procedures. Of course, during the entire consult, I examined every pore on her face. I feel more confident when the person treating my skin has good skin, and her skin was flawless.
What Is BBL?
Broadband Light Therapy (BBL) uses intense light energy to rejuvenate skin and improve the following conditions (and more):
- Acne and acne scarring
- Sun-damaged skin
- Discolorations, such as age spots, sun spots, and freckles
- Redness associated with broken blood vessels and rosacea
- Skin laxity
Essentially, the light energy from BBL Therapy deeply penetrates beneath the skin, improving discoloration and rejuvenating the skin for a very long time. This light energy is also believed to alter skin cells so they "act like" younger skin. Which might explain why I sometimes see it marketed as Forever Young BBL. I don’t care about being forever young; I just care that my skin looks its best at any age. This was explained to me in terms of visualizing how in 10 years my skin will look younger and better than it does today after BBL Therapy.
We shall see.
Why I Made the Appointment
Because it's recommended to avoid sun exposure before and after BBL, I made an appointment a few weeks after a trip to ensure that I wouldn't destroy the results if I forgot to use sunscreen.
I had arrived at a place in life where I took my health more seriously, and although I had eliminated the majority of skin-destroying habits such as smoking, drinking, and unhealthy eating, I often neglected regular application of sunscreen.
I can't stress enough how important I found it to protect my skin from sun damage. All those little brown and red spots were there because of excess sun exposure.
Healthy Lifestyle = Healthy Skin
My lifestyle now is healthy, and I want my skin to reflect that.
I don't drink, smoke, or party. I avoid sugar and processed foods, I exercise, and I drink lots of water. I have arrived at a point in my life where I feel that I can be responsible with and maintain my skin's health and appearance.
This is how my treatment went:
- My skin was analyzed with a skin diagnostic screening called Visa Complexion Analysis which reveals your skin's problem areas and enables the practitioner to more specifically and efficiently treat them.
- My skin was sanitized with alcohol.
- My skin type and recent sun exposure were assessed to gauge the appropriate laser settings.
- I was given small eye goggles to protect my eyes.
- My practitioner guided a wand-like light energy-emitting device across my face, targeting specific areas for redness, sunspots, and skin laxity.
The procedure felt like rubber bands snapping on the areas of my skin where the energy was concentrated. It stung but was bearable.
Slathering on Sunscreen
The actual procedure was over in about 20 minutes, and the technician made me slather a high SPF sunscreen all over my face and wouldn't let me leave until I promised to wear sunscreen. I purchased some from the office so she could believe I would wear it. It wasn't cheap, so I wear it every day.
Sunscreen diligence is a must! This is something I haven't been able to get into my thick skull over the years, but I am a convert now!
My Skin Was Radiant Once More!
When it was all over, my skin looked RADIANT.
I thought maybe it was because the procedure stimulates circulation, giving the skin a nice glow, but a few days later it still looked great. I was warned that any dark spots might get darker before flaking off and not to pick at them. I didn't notice much in that area outside of a few sprinklings on my left temple, but the redness was fading and the color was more even. My skin looked brighter!
The Treatment Series
It is recommended to have a series of BBL treatments spaced about a month a part for best results then follow up yearly to maintain results. Typically, there is no down time for recovery and you can return to your daily activities right away as long as you walk out that door wearing sunscreen and wear it every day for the rest of your life! At least try to wear it when you're out in the sun.
I have had these treatments in the past with varying results, even suffering some pretty bad burns once, but this time I noticed a more distinct improvement. The only time I I needed specific after care was when I was burned on my chest. I learned that this happened because the setting was too high for my skin color, which was darker than my face.
This is why it's so important to talk to your technician about sun exposure and to just avoid the sun all together before this treatment. Also, it is equally important to find a qualified and experienced practitioner who can recognize when your skin may not be reacting well.
From Sun Worshipper to Sunscreen Worshipper
I think my sun-worshipping days might be behind me. I decided that if I am going to spend as much as I do on making my skin healthy and beautiful and investing in a healthy lifestyle, I’m not going to ruin it again by neglecting to protect it from the sun. I can’t avoid the sun all together because I do love the sun, but I can take action to protect my skin. Using a quality sunscreen must be part of that routine
Ultimately, I am very pleased with the results. It may have taken a few years to get it right and I learned some hard lessons but I really love how my skin looks now and I definitely think it was worth it. I finally feel confident enough with my skin not to wear makeup everyday. I will return next week for another treatment and find out if this will be the one that will free me from makeup forever!
A Good Sunscreen Is Important for Avoiding Sun Damage
Turning Back the Clock
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.